New MISRA guidelines for safety critical systems

New guidelines covering the use programming in safety-critical applications have been developed and published by the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA)

The guidelines address directly the safety of motorists, pilots and a host of other applications where electronic systems are being designed to control vital operations.

The new guidelines have been driven by the development and proliferation of the C++ programming language into safety-critical embedded controls.

MISRA C++ specifies a subset of the C++ programming language that is intended to be suitable for embedded systems. It contains a list of rules concerning the use of the C++ programming language together with justifications and examples.

David Ward, MISRA Project Manager, said: “Few could have predicted the effect that MISRA C would have within embedded systems engineering. Since its launch in 1998, it has become the dominant coding standard used for the development of critical systems with the C programming language …Given this success, the fact that C++ is now being used within critical systems (e.g. the Joint Strike Fighter, jet-engine controllers and medical systems), and that there is currently no universally accepted set of guidelines for its use in these systems, MISRA committed itself to the development of a similar set of guidelines for C++.”

Further details of MISRA and MISRA C++ are available at

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